Consulting Math Consulting Math Overview

The most popular questions in both Consulting written tests and Case Interview.

  A quick glance

  1. The Importance of Consulting Math
  2. Consulting Math VS High school Math
  3. Mental Math in Consulting
  4. Tips to Ace Consulting Math Questions

1 | Why is math important in the consulting recruitment process?

Math is an part of consulting!

 Management Consulting is a critically fact-based industry. All diagnoses and recommendations must be based on facts, and most facts are presented in … numbers.

As a result, consultants spend a lot of their time working with numbers. This is showcased in many aspects of a consultant’s day-to-day work: the data analyses they run, the charts they make, the back-of-the-envelope calculations (or estimations) during team meetings, and the mental calculations during client interviews, etc.

No matter how specific interviewing/testing format can change, I can be 100% sure that math will always be a very important part of how consulting recruiter select candidates.

2 | How different is “consulting math” from high school math?

The ultimate aim of most consulting projects is to improve business. Therefore, math in consulting and in the consulting recruitment process will mostly be in business contexts.

With high school and college-level math, you are allowed to utilize your best friend: the calculator. However, in Consulting Case Interviews and entrance exams (i.e. McKinsey PSTBCG Potential Test), no calculator is allowed. Your pencil, scratch paper, and your brain are all you have to rely on.

Level of

“Consulting math” is mostly similar to… elementary math. Most of the time, you will only need to perform additions, subtractions, multiplications, and divisions. In some occasions, there are percentages or fractions. But that’s all there is to it. No need to worry about all the complicated compound interest, logarithms, derivatives, etc. that once haunted you in high school and college.

Level of

Unlike scientific math, consulting math often requires only close-to-correct answers. This comes from the real life differences between the two fields. In science or technology, a tiny error can lead to disasters. But in business, decisions can be effectively and efficiently made based on only near-perfect data/calculations.

This is a very important implication, completely change how to approach consulting math. There any a number of tips and tricks we can apply to greatly improve speed while still maintain an acceptable margin of error. We will find out about this later in this articles and subsequent ones.

3 | Consultants take Mental Math very seriously

Being able to do math quickly means a mental toughness. Therefore, the bolder your mental math is, the more fascinated the interviewer will be

Since consulting math is completely different from academic math, you should bear in mind that these quick calculation techniques are not only precious “tricks” to win case interviews but also essential tools that consultants use day-to-day. 

is one of the core competences of any consultants

 Mental Math is one of the core competences of any consultants, and you should practice continually before your interview. In the video below, we already highlighted several “hacks” about consulting math that will help you manage the calculations faster. 

4 | Ok, how do I get better?

Two major ways you can do to improve consulting math: Tips and Practice. Awesome, game-changing tips and a huge (I mean HUGE) amount of practice!

Consulting math tips is such a big topic so I dedicate a whole article and possibly a Youtube video on it. Here, let’s talk about Practice!

There are FIVE major levels of resources with increasing difficulty to simulate real life problems in consulting case interviews and entrance tests for your Case Interview Practice. You may use paper and pencil depending on the complexity level of the exercise, mainly for organizing concepts and numbers. Don’t use paper and pencil purely for the calculations themselves.

  • (1) Pure numerical calculations

    The core of every math question is numbers – there are no contexts or word problems to complicate or distract from the math. There are certain resources online to help you with pure number equations such as:

    -    MConsultingPrep's Plain-number math drills 

    -    Do it in your head 

  • (2) Simple word problems with irrelevant contexts

    The next level involves a certain amount of contexts. You are asked to perform not only pure calculations but also some reading and calculation set-up.

    The contexts provided might not be similar to those commonly seen in case interview or recruitment entrance exams. These types of questions can typically be found in various quantitative-type tests, e.g. GMAT, Aptitude Test, etc.

  • (3) Simple word problems with business context

    The data provided for questions of this type are similar to Group 2 above, but the contexts are more complicated and closer to those in real case interviews.

    Try out some examples with MConsultingPrep Short-context math drills.

  • (4) Full-context case questions

    Full-case math is very similar to the kind of math applied in Case Interview. 

    In these questions, you will be given full contexts and data and asked to perform multiple calculations and answer multiple quantitative questions.

    Give it a try with MConsultingPrep Full-context math drills.

  • (5) Chart-based math questions

    This is the highest level of Case Interview Math practice. For these questions, you will be given an exhibit with different data represented from different perspectives. You will be asked to perform calculations and answer quantitative questions based on these data.

    These questions are the most realistic examples of Case Interview and entrance exam math.

    Do some practice with MConsultingPrep Chart-based-context math drills.

Mental Math is not easy. The road to master all types of question is even more difficult. 

But don’t worry! With our Consulting Math programs, you can get access to all fundamental resources and a effective study plan developed by the former consultants at McKinsey.

Want to stand out from thousands of potential Candidate?

Join our Comprehensive Math Program today!

This practice package contains the following:

  • 30 chart problems
  • 50 full-context cases
  • 300 short math questions
  • Over 1000 raw number calculations
  • 10 Quantitative Cases

All complete with full keys and explanations

Or start step-by-step with our Exclusive Practice Packages

At the core of our training philosophy lies the belief that a step-by-step training from easy to hard is crucial to the attainment of math skill The order of difficulty level of our packages are as follows:

1. Plain Number        2.Short Questions        3.Chart-based Drills        4. Full Case        5.Math in Case.

Plain Number Calculations

(1000 Questions)
$ 39
  • +1000 raw number calculations
  • Full keys and detailed explanations.

Short Math

(300 Questions)
$ 39
  • 300 short math questions
  • Full keys and detailed explanations.

Chart Drills

(30 Chart Drills)
$ 39
  • 30 Full chart problems
  • Full keys and detailed explanations.

Full Case

(50 Long-context Cases)
$ 39
  • 50 full-context cases
  • Full keys and detailed explanations.

Math In Case

(10 Quantitative Cases)
$ 39
  • 10 business cases given in actual interviews
  • Detailed answer, including a recommended approach, formulas, explanations and ‘next-step’ insights.

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Great job Mr Kim